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Islam and Ramadan in Dubai - tips and advice for visitors

Religion and Ramadan in Dubai (Photo: Flickr/landhere)

Islam is the official religion in Dubai and an important part of everyday life, but Dubai is a tolerant emirate and other religions and churches are respected. At the same time, there are things about religion and Ramadan that visitors should keep in mind.

Religion in Dubai

Dubai is the most religiously liberal area in the region. The emirate has both Hindu temples and Christian churches, and the impact of Islam on daily life is not as great as in Saudi Arabia, for example.

But although Dubai is tolerant and has a great habit of accepting people, cultures and religions from other parts of the world, there are things to consider when travelling there. It's all about how you dress and behave, and whether alcohol.

Ramadan in Dubai

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. Out of respect for those fasting, visiting non-Muslims are also expected not to eat or drink in public places from sunrise to sunset, and to wear an even more restrained dress than otherwise required.

During Lent, hotels do not serve alcohol until after 19:00.

The dates of Ramadan vary from year to year. In 2018, Ramadan is from 16 May to 14 June, in 2019, the dates are from 6 May to 3 June and in 2020, Ramadan is from 24 April to 23 May. If you want to know more, Wikipedia has a detailed article. And this Wikipedia page has all the frame date for the coming years.

Tourist in Dubai during Ramadan

Many people seem to think it's a hassle to travel to Dubai during Ramadan. It's just the opposite! Everything is a little more peaceful. There are fewer people in shopping galleries, less queuing and much easier to get to popular attractions such as Burj Khalifa. At the same time, most tourist attractions are open as usual.

Joining the breaking of the fast at midnight every night is an interesting experience and a must for food lovers. Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast, is celebrated every night during Ramadan with grand buffets and huge iftar tents with food and activities. This is a great opportunity to mingle with the locals.

Hotels often offer discounts and special rates during Ramadan. It rarely gets more affordable to stay at hotels in Dubai than at that time.

Film clip on Ramadan in Dubai

This short film from Visit Dubai gives a sense of what it might be like to experience Ramadan in Dubai.

(Page updated 10/04/2018.)
(Photo: Flickr/landhere)


  1. Role

    Hello !How is the outdoor life in July?? And is there any further restriction on alcohol during Ramadan?? Thanks in advance //Rolle

  2. Mariella

    Thanks for the answer! do you also have to think about how to dress during that time? Are the malls open or is it after sunset when they open? Lots of questions - but we didn't think about it being Ramadan when we booked the trip 😉

    • admin

      Shopping malls don't close in Dubai, you can be sure of that 😉 Dubai Mall, for example, is extending its opening hours, staying open from 10am to 1am. Some restaurants around the mall don't close until 3am.

      When it comes to clothes: you should always think about how you dress in Dubai. Although life in the emirate is not perceived as strict as in some other Muslim countries, it is wise (and respectful) not to show too much skin. Legs should be covered to below the knees and shoulders should ideally not be bare.

  3. Mariella


    we are going to Dubai and will land on 4 Aug. How long does Ramadan last? Do restaurants open in the evening after sunset?

    • admin

      Hi Mariella!

      This year, Ramadan continues until 8 August. You can expect many restaurants to change or extend their opening hours so there's plenty of time to eat after sunset. Some restaurants in hotels will also stay open as usual on the day for international guests. It is perfectly permissible for non-Muslims to eat at regular hours during Ramadan, but care should be taken to do so with respect for fasting Muslims.

  4. hakim




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